Last Updated: Mar 1, 2018
Planning a DOTA 2 PC build? In this guide to building or upgrading a computer for Defence of the Ancients 2 you'll learn everything you need to know including:
DOTA 2 (Defence of the Ancients 2) is a free-to-play MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) game created by Valve, and is one of the biggest eSports titles on the planet right now with mind-boggling amounts of prize money being awarded at the top tournaments (ie millions and millions of dollars) and a massive fanbase who tune in to watch their favorite pro teams go head to head.
In terms of hardware requirements, overall DOTA 2 is a little more demanding compared to other MOBA games, yet will play very well on any decent PC. Either way, when upgrading or building a new rig for any game you should do your research to make sure you’ll get the performance you want.
Minimum DOTA 2 Hardware for 60 FPS+
For our DOTA 2 PC builds we’ll be sticking to the standard 1080p (full HD) resolution, as it’s high-enough quality, not heavily taxing on your hardware like larger resolutions are, and plus it’s the resolution that most pros and amateurs alike play in anyway (both at home and at tournaments).
These recommended hardware setups also assuming that you’ll be maxing out the in-game settings to ultra.
Based on extensive research, to get a consistent frame-rate over the flawless 60 frames per second mark in 1080p, which should be your aim when playing on a standard 60Hz monitor to avoid any dips under 60FPS and therefore annoying visual lag, the following modern CPU, GPU and RAM combination is the minimum you’ll need to achieve this:
60FPS+ Recommended Hardware:
CPU: Intel Pentium G4560 (with stock cooler)
GPU: NVidia GTX 1050 2GB
RAM: 4GB DDR4 (any speed)
The combination of the great value processor in the Intel Pentium G4560 and the fairly capable graphics card in the GTX 1050 2GB will have you hovering at an average FPS of around 80-100 in DOTA 2, which is well clear of the 60 FPS target to avoid ever dipping under that mark. If you lower settings to medium you’ll get approximately 100-120 on average.
So, you could get away with lower hardware if you don’t mind the possibility of occasionally dipping slightly under 60 FPS, or you don’t mind turning down the settings to low/medium/high instead of ultra.
For example, swapping the GTX 1050 for a GTX 1030 or AMD RX 550 2GB instead would still run DOTA 2 well, but you wouldn’t get consistently flawless performance unless you really turn down those settings.
Remember this is just the bare minimum recommended setup to stay comfortably above 60FPS at all times on ultra settings, so of course feel free to get a more powerful PC to either run DOTA 2 in higher resolutions or to play other, more demanding games.
Note we list 4GB of memory as the minimum, as you won’t see a difference in older games like DOTA 2, but unless you’re on a really tight budget and all you care about is DOTA 2 then you should aim to get 8GB to future-proof your system more. The price difference between 4GB and 8GB of RAM isn’t too big.
Minimum DOTA 2 Hardware for 144 FPS+
Now we’ll cover how to get to that magical 144 frames per second mark consistently in DOTA 2 for anyone who will be playing on a 144Hz monitor.
Getting a 144Hz monitor does make the game that little bit smoother, and some people will notice the difference more than others, however it’s not as important as compared to faster-paced games such as FPS titles like CS:GO and Overwatch where jumping from a 60 to 144Hz display will be a lot more noticeable for more people.
Using a 60Hz monitor for DOTA 2 will still allow you to play the game at your best, so we can recommend either 60Hz or 144Hz monitors for this game.
But if you do have the money to invest then by all means get a 144Hz screen to maximize your experience (and potentially your results if you’re one of those people who sees a difference).
Also, keep in mind that when using a 144Hz screen, it’s fine if you dip under 144 FPS as it won’t cause visual lag and it’ll still look smoother than 60FPS.
For example, if you generally get over 144 but drop down to 100 every now and then, it’s not going to cause visual lag. But if you’re using a 60Hz screen and you dip down to 30/40 FPS at times, you will notice it.
With that in mind, the following specs are the minimum to get an average FPS of over 144FPS in DOTA 2 for a 144Hz display (1080p, ultra settings), however you may very well occasionally dip under that 144FPS mark with this kind of setup (read the notes below for more on that).
144FPS+ Recommended Hardware:
CPU: Intel i5-7500 (with stock cooler)
GPU: NVidia GTX 1060 6GB
RAM: 8GB DDR4 (any speed)
If you scoff at the thought of ever dropping below 144FPS because you have the money to invest on a killer system and you want to take full advantage of your 144Hz screen (and you also don’t want to lower the settings to avoid dropping under 144), you’ll need to beef up your system a little more.
The most important thing for DOTA 2 would be to improve your processor, as the game relies a lot on the CPU, so to never drop below 144FPS+ you could forget about the i5-7500 and get an i7-7700 instead.
Doing this, and keeping your 1060 6GB graphics card, will get you to the holy grail of constantly over 144FPS (assuming you’ve got the latest DOTA 2 patches, latest version of Windows 10, and your system isn’t clogged up or has other issues negatively affecting performance).
If you want to go all out to leave absolutely nothing to chance then get a GTX 1070 as well which should get your FPS over 200 FPS, and will play the game in 1440p extremely well as well.
Keep in mind that the processors we’ve mentioned here are the non-overclocking versions which we suggest to most gamers as they won’t be overclocking.
But if you want to overclock, get the “K” versions of these Intel processors instead (and you’ll also need an aftermarket cooler as the “K” processors don’t come with coolers). Also, if you prefer AMD then feel free to get an AMD equivalent processor as either will work just fine for this game.